My journey through the world of writing and everything that lies in between…

Historical Fantasy

It’s funny it’s taken me this long to figure it out. Obviously my WiP, with its supernatural elements (i.e. my MC Miyuki  being the mystical Snow Woman) puts it in the fantasy genre. Since I’m setting it in 18th century Japan, that classifies it further as historical fantasy.

But I realized something: since this is historical fantasy, I don’t have to be as stringent in the historical accuracy.

I went searching to see some definitions of historical fantasy. Mine seem to follow one of these two (courtesy of Wikipedia article):

  • magic, mythical creatures or other supernatural elements co-exist invisibly with the mundane world, with the majority of people none the wiser.
  • The story takes place in a secondary world with specific and recognizable parallels to a known place (or places) and a definite historical period, rather than taking the geographic and historical “mix and match” favored by other works of secondary world fantasy. However, many if not most, works by fantasy authors derive ideas and inspiration from real events, making the borders of this approach history.

I’m not really sure where exactly Lady of the Snow falls; I’m thinking it’s going to be more along the lines of historcial fiction with fantasy elements and the whole “mythical creatures” co-existing with the mundane. But, I feel like I’m a little more free to not be as strict with all the rules of society of the time. I’m toying with the idea doing what Lian Hearn did for Tales of the Otori: an obviously Japanese type world, yet not this world as it follows a completely different timeline.

Perhaps I won’t define it at all and let the reader figure out where it’s set. 😛 I already know my village is going to be fictional, but it’ll be based off the region where the villages of Shirakawa-go are located.  (I still have to come up with a nifty sounding name for the village too).

Anyway, for some reason, a lot of this puts a huge burden off my shoulders. I don’t feel like I’ll need to do months and months of research. But I still have to write it and do all the editing for it and we’ll see where it all goes. 🙂


Comments on: "Historical Fantasy" (6)

  1. You will be VERY happy you decided to do this. I have been – even recently. See the post on my blog about my first Chinese reader. It will make TONS of stuff so much more simple and will give you breathing space. The great news is, more and more fantascists are doing this. Some folks call it “Magical Realism,” BTW. I’ve found a few more agents by searching under that term.

  2. That’s right! Get to writing!

    I say a middle road is maybe better, though. You don’t have to go crazy researching, but the extremes towards too much research or ignoring research for writing well, neither of those are going to suit well. Happy middle. (I’m such a Buddhist right now, hey! 🙂 )

    • I agree–happy middle! I still will end up doing quite a bit–I don’t think I could avoid it! I want it to resemble the culture and need research for that! I have two books already that have given me a great picture of the time and the lives of an average farmer in the Edo era, which is great 🙂

  3. Mine is kind of like that. Fantasy with a bit of history, mostly just at the beginning. It’s fun to be able to twist historical events. You’ll have more fun with a little bit of weight off your shoulders. I have a WWII book I want to write, but am waiting for a while to tackle that one.

  4. Sounds like a good plan. You can incorporate as much history and legend as you want and not have some expert in ancient Japanese culture call you out on one, little misstep. Good luck with it all.

  5. Great revelation! In Asian literature, the lines between historical and historical fantasy are a lot more blurred, I find. So be free and see where this story takes you!

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